Kittens are born blind, deaf and completely dependent on mom. Mom moves them by nosing them into place for suckling or picking them up by their scruffs with her teeth. Within a couple weeks, kittens are standing on shaky little legs. A few weeks more and they're climbing your curtains.
A lot of development has to take place between the time your kitten is born and before he first stands. During his first week to 2 weeks, your kitten will open his eyes and ears. At the same time, your kitten is developing the coordination that will be necessary for him to begin using his legs for mobility. The first steps toward walking are similar to that of a human baby. Before he walks, he will crawl.
Each kitten develops at his own pace; some will stand and walk before others. Generally, however, most kittens are standing sometime between their third and fourth weeks. Even though your kittens eyes likely opened a week earlier, it is just now that his vision is coming into focus and he is using his sense of sight to locate his mom. During this time your kitten is also starting to develop the paw-to-eye coordination that will be necessary as he begins to walk.
Shortly after mastering the ability to stand, kittens will take their first steps. This is usually about week 4. As he becomes more confident in his mobility, your kitten will start to follow his mom around and will even follow her to the litter box. Provide your kitten with a box that is accessible to him, and mom will take care of potty training for you. Because he'll taste it first, it's important that you use a basic clay litter, one that doesn't clump, in the beginning.
At about week 5, you will start to see your kitten play with his siblings. In the beginning your kitten will stick close to his mom and family. By week 6, however, he will likely be venturing out further and starting to explore on his own. Kittens begin to discover their claws at this age, and this is the time to introduce a scratching post and teach your kitten about the appropriate places to scratch. By week 7, pouncing, jumping and climbing become part of your kitten's mobility skills; this is about the time you'll find him at the top of the living room curtains.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.